Curriculum

The Program

Students who began their studies at CSB/SJU in 2014-15 or before are to complete their studies according to the current Biology major describe below.  Those who start in fall 2015 or later will folllow the new curriculm as described here.

The current Biology major

Majors and minors in Biology begin with Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology (BIOL 121), Introduction to Organismal Biology (BIOL 221) and Introduction to Ecology, Evolution and Diversity (BIOL 222).  BIOL 121 and 221 are prerequisites for BIOL 222 and all upper-division Biology courses, and are taken in the first year.  BIOL 222 should be taken during the sophomore year, and is a prerequisite for most upper-division courses.  Entering students may be eligible for credit on the basis of the Advanced Placement test in Biology, the International Baccalaureate or the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).

In addition to the three introductory courses, Biology majors take five upper-division (300-level) courses.  These courses allow students to explore a number of specialties and refine their particular interests.  Biology students are required to use modern equipment, both for class work and the individual pursuit of research.  Suggestions for specific upper-division courses that are appropriate for areas of interest may be found here.

The close interrelationship of biology to other disciplines requires that majors complete two courses in chemistry (CHEM 125 and 250) along with two chemistry labs (CHEM 201 and 202) and one course in mathematics (MATH 118, 119, or 124).

Courses in other natural sciences, as well as in the social sciences and humanities, complement the Biology coursework and provide students with a balanced education in the liberal arts.  Those planning to teach natural sciences in the secondary schools take a number of courses in biology and other natural sciences, as well as designated courses in education. These students generally complete a Natural Science major, rather than a Biology major.

A  more complete description of the Biology curriculum and course options can be found in the CSB/SJU Academic Catalog.

The new Biology major

The Biology Department will begin offering its new major in fall semester 2015. Students begin the new Biology major with Foundations of Biology (BIOL 101), Intermediate Cell Biology and Genetics (BIOL 201) and Evolution in Action (BIOL 202).  Foundations of Biology gives an overview of the fundamental themes of biology within the context of a specific biological system, which varies from section to section.  Intermediate Cell Biology and Genetics course builds on the material covered in BIOL 101, and includes biological molecules, cell structure, cell signaling, metabolism, and classical and molecular genetics.  Evolution in Action is an examination of evolutionary processes in the context the of important biological themes of information transfer, the exchanges of energy and materials, reproduction and the transmission of genetic information, and the dynamics of biological populations and communities.

BIOL 101 and 201 are meant to be taken in the first year, while BIOL 202 should be taken during the sophomore year, as it is a prerequisite for many upper-division courses.  Entering students may be eligible for credit on the basis of the Advanced Placement test in Biology, the International Baccalaureate or the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).In addition to the three core courses, Biology majors take 20 credits in upper-division (300-level) courses.  These courses allow students to explore a number of specialties and refine their particular interests.  Students must take at least one course from three distributions that are based on the techniques and tools commonly used to study: 1) molecules & cells, 2) whole organisms, and 3) biology in the field.  Suggestions for specific upper-division courses that are appropriate for areas of interest may be found here.The capstone requirement for the Biology major can be completed though any of the following options:

  1. An Honors Thesis (BIOL 398), Biological Research (BIOL 372) or summer research (at CSB/SJU or elsewhere) that satisfies institutional capstone criteria.
  2. Completion of hands-on research in the context of the 2-credit Senior Capstone in Biology course (BIOL 380).
  3. Completion of a research proposal or review paper in the context of the Senior Capstone in Biology.

Students pursuing option 1 are required to make a formal presentation on campus or at some other venue.  These courses must be taken during the student's senior year.The interdisciplinary nature of the Biology means that students must take courses outside of the Biology Department for a meaningful understanding of the subject.  Introduction to Chemical Structure and Properties (CHEM 125), Purification and Separation Lab 1 (CHEM 201) and Probability and Statistics (MATH 124) are required of all Biology majors.  One additional course from list of approved courses that include offerings in Physics, Chemistry, Math, Computer Science and Environmental Studies.Students minoring in Biology take BIOL 101, 201, 202 and 12 credits of upper-division BIOL courses.